Kevin Hart, the actor and comedian who pulled out of hosting the Oscars in December after a series of old homophobic tweets resurfaced, has said he is reconsidering the role.
The development came on Friday (4) on The Ellen DeGeneres Show when DeGeneres, a former Oscar ceremony host herself, said she called the Academy on Thursday (3) asking for Hart to be reinstated and claimed the Academy said it was eager to have him host the show.
DeGeneres’ stance sparked a backlash on social media, with some commentators calling her remarks a betrayal – DeGeneres is gay – and unfortunate, given that Hart took a while to apologise for the content of the tweets after they resurfaced last month.
Hart and DeGeneres engaged in a lengthy on-air conversation on the matter, which ended when DeGeneres returned from a commercial break with the words, “We’re back with this year’s Oscar host Kevin Hart.” That sparked cheers from the audience and prompted Hart to say, “Leaving here I promise you I’m evaluating this conversation… Let me assess and really think and you and I will talk before anything else.”
The Academy had not commented to Screen at time of writing. Last month, after the tweets resurfaced, Hart stepped down from the hosting gig when the Academy issued an ultimatum to address the controversy.
After several posts on Instagram in the preceding days in which he did not apologise for the old tweets, the performer said he was stepping down as he did not want to be a distraction and apologised to the LGBTQ community “for my insensitive words from my past.”
On The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Friday, which was taped on Thursday, DeGeneres said: “I’m saying to you as one of the smartest people I know, one of the funniest people I know… what we’re going to get to see on stage with you hosting the Oscars is sophistication, class, hilarity and you growing as a person.
“Most people would say, ‘I’m walking away, I’m not coming back,’ but for you to be the bigger man and not pay attention – there are so many haters on the internet… don’t pay attention to them, that’s a small group of people being very, very loud. We’re a huge group of people who love you.”
Hart described the matter of the resurfaced tweets one day after he was confirmed as the ceremony host on December 4 as an attack designed “to end me.”